I Need A Hug! by
(88 Stories)

Prompted By Pandemic Summer

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I’m hug hungry…hug starved. Is huglorn a word?

There was hand sanitizer at every place setting, the centerpiece was a bowl filled with rubber gloves, and for desert we had our choice of individually wrapped pastries.

I’m what you call a hugger. I hug like I mean it, because I do. I tend to take that extra nanosecond to feel the hug through to my soul.

Prophylactic Centerpiece (Gloves!)

Sanitizer for Every Hand

Three weeks ago Garth and I had our very first social outing since PCM1 (Pandemic Consciousness Month 1). We were invited to lunch at the home of some of our closest friends who assured us that CP (Covid Precautions) would be in place. Judy’s nature is to  take things beyond what’s expected (even offering me the face shield seen in my featured image which I tried on for fun but didn’t end up wearing), and true to her nature, had seen to the umpteenth detail. The table was set outside on the deck with six feet between each of us. There was hand sanitizer at every place setting, the centerpiece was a bowl filled with rubber gloves, and for desert we had our choice of individually wrapped pastries. We had a fine time catching up and sharing our pandemic and political tales of woe, it was almost as good as “before,” but we couldn’t hug.

Antisocial Distancing

Two weeks ago we donned masks and met with other masked friends at the Huntington Library & Gardens. The management had seen to every detail: Reservations (and masks) were required, and only so many people were allowed to wander the grounds at a time. Our temperatures were taken, there was hand sanitizer just about wherever you looked, and foot traffic on the miles of meandering pathways was directed and restricted so we could maintain social distancing. It was wonderful to see our dear friends and share our delight in such a beautiful setting, but we couldn’t hug.

Last week my granddaughters, having seemingly quite suddenly grown up and flown the coop, took off to share their first apartment as they begin exciting new lives as college students in Santa Barbara, and I didn’t get to see them off or hug them goodbye.

My Girls

I haven’t hugged my daughter in…I can’t remember how long. This daughter that I would give my life for, I can’t hug. Now there’s a dichotomy for you.

Garth and I hug several times a day. And I hug Charlie, even though I looked it up and the Internet says dogs don’t really like being hugged. But I do it anyway. Because, you know, I’m a hugger.

Profile photo of Barbara Buckles Barbara Buckles
Artist, writer, storyteller, spy. Okay, not a spy…I was just going for the rhythm.

I call myself “an inveterate dabbler.” (And my husband calls me “an invertebrate babbler.”) I just love to create one way or another. My latest passion is telling true stories live, on stage. Because it scares the hell out of me.

As a memoirist, I focus on the undercurrents. Drawing from memory, diaries, notes, letters and photographs, I never ever lie, but I do claim creative license when fleshing out actual events in order to enhance the literary quality, i.e., what I might have been wearing, what might have been on the table, what season it might have been. By virtue of its genre, memoir also adds a patina of introspection and insight that most probably did not exist in real time.

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Characterizations: been there, funny, right on!, well written


  1. Laurie Levy says:

    OMG, Barb, great feature image. Like you, I am feeling hug-deprived. It hurts to see my granddaughter who is always so affectionate with me, back away. Sending you a big, virtual hug…

  2. Betsy Pfau says:

    I hear you…and feel you! When I see old friends for the first time in a while, we mime a virtual hug; not very satisfying, but the best we can do now. Your dinner party sounded perfect. I love the gloves as part of the centerpiece. Very thoughtful. We haven’t gotten to the point of sharing food. When we get together with friends, we bring our own food, but at least can socialize. That is the most important thing right now. Your granddaughters are lovely and I wish them well on their new adventure in SB and college. I hope they are smart and stay safe, thereby keeping the rest of us safe as well.

    • Thanks for “feeling” me, Bets! We too mime, and bump elbows…I actually snuck one hug in, my right ear to her right ear, mouths reaching for the sky. Bringing your own food is a good idea…we have a picnic coming up and will all be doing that. And yes, my granddaughters are smart…I just hope they stay safe and practice safe! I keep bugging them…so far, so good.

  3. Marian says:

    Love the face shield, Barb. Never seen one like that in purple! We all miss hugs. I use Namaste a lot, both six feet away and over Zoom, but it isn’t the same. Your granddaughters are lovely and I wish them a safe journey!

  4. Suzy says:

    Barb, I love the picture of you in that face shield. Did it make you feel safe or claustrophobic? Or over-protected, as you suggest in your caption? How great that you have been able to have these social events with friends.

    I am feeling hug-deprived too. I like your word “huglorn.” I am also a big hugger, and I fear that even after we get through this, people will be loathe to hug. I hug my husband much more than I ever did before, to make up for the fact that I can’t hug anyone else. My cat is not as cooperative as your dog apparently is, although I do try to hug her from time to time. I look forward to seeing you, and hugging you, when all this is over!

    • The face shield definitely felt over-protected. I feel pretty safe in my mask, which has a pocket where I slide in a drugstore mask, so there are several layers altogether. I figure if the other person I’m talking to has a mask on, the chances of the virus penetrating all those layers is slim to non-existent. I guess there’s always the eyes but feel like that’s more of a problem for someone who is in a lot of close contact with people, especially people who are already infected.

      I still don’t understand why hugging is verboten if you’re both wearing masks but am not fighting it. And I can’t wait for that hug!

  5. Yes BB, we’re all huglorn!
    Our son was with us for the first 3 months of lockdown, and to protect his more vulnerable parents – especially as my husband recently had surgery – he was the one who ventured out.

    So being extra cautious he wouldn’t let us hug him – until he was packing his car the day he left us. Not knowing when we’d be together again, we couldn’t stop hugging.

  6. John Shutkin says:

    Great story, Barb. I love you focus on hugs which, arguably, are the least of our deprivations these days. And yet, as shines through your story, they may actually be one of the most, at least emotionally. My wife accidentally hugged her daughter during a socially-distanced Memorial Day get together – -we were playing croquet — and felt horrible and wonderful about it at the same time. (Both are OK.)

    Anyhow, for what it is worth (not much, sadly), I am sending you a virtual, and totally platonic, hug in response to your lovely story. Was it good for you?

  7. “Huglorn” Love that! You do a great job of pointing out the good things in connection still happening, but without hugs does it stay? Thanks for sharing this sweetness.

  8. Joe Lowry says:

    I agree that one of the worse features of the pandemic is the social distancing. While required, in times of crisis, people want to be and get together. Too bad that we cannot do much of that activity.

  9. John Zussman says:

    We just hosted our third socially distanced dinner party with another couple. We took what we thought were adequate precautions but we never thought of some of your friend’s measures like the prophylactic centerpiece! I love the creative details both at the dinner and the gardens. Let’s all stay safe and plan for a huge group hug once this madness is over.

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